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tv   Nightline  ABC  April 12, 2010 11:35pm-12:05am EDT

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tonight on "nightline," the price of divorce. from politicians to celebrities to the average joe, marriages continue to collapse often ending up before a judge. tonight, what divorce court teaches us about the modern state of marriage. the market climbs above the 11,000 point barrier, hitting an 18 month high, but is the come back for real? what about jobs and housing. we have the "nightline" guide to what it means for you. inside the kingdom of little people. it's china's bizarre new theme park featuring no one bigger than four foot three.
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a tall tale? it's tonight's sign of the times. good evening. it seems that nobody is immune from princesses to the poor, from athletes to actors, divorce is a daily reality for millions. the cost is almost impossible to quantify, and while some marriages end peacefully, there are many which draw to a close in bitterness and anger. but whether it's a celebrity husband and wife or your neighbor next door, there's something about marital conflict that makes us stop and stare, especially when it's on television. >> reporter: from tiger woods to
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sandra bullock, the emotions of high profile marital heartbreak are getting splashed across tabloids. from the 50 million dollar bust up of paul mccartney and heather mills. >> money was taken out of my account again. >> reporter: even had it comes to everyday divorces, it's the stuff that broken dreams are made of. houses, property and the pets. >> she treated the dog like it was a queen. >> reporter: perhaps you heard it said, love is like velcro. lovers come together quietly and part noisily. >> that is totally -- he made that up. >> reporter: nowhere does that seem more true than on this sound stage in west l.a. the latest episodes of the syndicated tv series divorce court are taping. >> she's the judge who gives rules on the law and life.
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>> reporter: with former real life judge lynn toler behind the bench. >> you've come here to say you lost the weight but didn't get the boob job. >> reporter: it's not an actual divorce court. these couples are arguing about property or money. >> tell me you didn't spend your daughter's $1300 disney land money. >> reporter: lynn toler says venting feelings that have gone unacknowledged too long. >> here we give people an opportunity to be heard. not taking money out of your daughter's mouth to give you more beer. >> property is very important in this day and age. it defines you. you've worked hard to get it. it's meaningful to you. when you divorce, a lot of people have a lot of battles over their property. >> you are sorry. >> just as sorry as you. >> no, i am not sorry.
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i took care of your daughter. >> reporter: they sure weren't talking like that on the show of divorce court in the 60s, which featured actors performing scripted dialogue, while using an in court reporter, also an actor, to give off a when i have whiff of truth. >> divorce is becoming less of a stigma and more of a stepping stone towards future happiness. people are less likely to stay in a relationship where they're unhappiness. >> this facebook page is like an army of chubby red heads. >> tell me the role of the internet in divorce? >> from what i see and hear, it's a mess. >> when he marries me, he says my friends send me hot pictures of my naked wives. >> you have friends who send you
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hot pictures of their naked wives. >> i had one friend. >> this is a general statement out to the world. don't do that. >> before when you wanted to cheat, you had to leave the house. you had to meet the person. now on the internet, you have millions of people at your disposal that can walk into your life. >> reporter: there's no shortage of show biz. those who have heard lynn's advice include ted haggard. >> i think if i did it again, she would divorce me. >> i need you to hear that, feel that and believe that and say that and know that. >> i got it. >> reporter: mr. and mrs. gary coleman. >> i have low self-esteem. >> i think he's very, very smart and very emotionally damaged. >> he didn't know how to deal with his anger. she didn't know how to deal with him. i tried to give him some, i don't know, clues or ways to handle his own emotional
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situation. >> you have to decide whether or not the people that stole from you are going to run your tomorrow as well as yesterday. >> reporter: why do we at home like to watch divorcing couples so much? >> i think they want to be informed and they want to take away lessons from what the judge tells them and teaches and shows them. >> mrs. miller. mr. miller. >> reporter: even amid the blow brow details of these relationsh relationships. >> he gets a check made out to him from the lowe's vanderbilt hotel. >> i went to a hotel to take a nap. >> reporter: or the crowd policing zingers she gets to lob from the bench. >> you checked into a very nice hotel at $189 a pop to take a nap. that doesn't make a lot of sense to me. just on friday. >> reporter: lynn toler says her
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show offers couples something of value. >> i provide them with some emotional resolution. the system is not designed to say to one party i know you've been hurt and i'm sorry and to the other party you were you were a bad person for hurting her like that. you get that in divorce court. he doesn't define whether you look good. you define that. if you want to lose 20 pounds don't lose it for him. lose it because you feel like it. >> reporter: what words will you remember? >> she told me i should be a strong woman and that i should stand up for myself and that what he thinks of me doesn't matter. it's what i think of myself that matters. >> i think divorce is always a difficult and emotionally painful journey. nobody gets out of love alive. even if we're the person that wants the divorce, we struggle terribly when we abandon somebody. >> reporter: no matter who you might be, there's no appealing
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this judge's opinion about why today's marriages don't last. >> i think we're an instant gratification society. if i'm not happy for six months, you got to go, as opposed to a commitment to work through the more difficult things. i see some people in here and i say i can't believe you're in here over this nonsense. >> reporter: i'm chris connolly for "nightline" in los angeles. >> our thanks to chris connolly. when we come back, the dow jones rallies to a high water mark, but should you be bullish about an economy on the mend? our planet is alive with data. it's generated by cars on a freeway, patients in a hospital, electricity in the grid. the more we understand data, the more answers we find. patterns are easing traffic in over 400 cities... detecting disease faster, reducing energy costs by 10%.
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it was not long ago that finding even a morrisle of positive economic news was a mere impossibility. housing prices tanked, jobs slashed, the market is in shamables. today, the dow closed at its highest level since september 2008. have we finally turned the corner and what does this numbers game mean for you and your money? john donvan now reports, it probably depends on who you ask. >> reporter: look at this americans weary of recession. 11,005.97, an 18 month high which is good, right? but look at this number. unemployment stuck at 9.7%. auto sales up 37% last month,
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good? but home foreclosures 308,524 in february, bad. retail sales, up, new home sales down. good, bad, up, down. this sea of numbers, do they say recession or not? are we in or are we out? well, we put that question about numbers to someone who is an optimist on where the economy is heading. barry of fusion iq. >> do you see the sun coming up. >> sure. >> we put it to someone who is more of a pes mist. >> what struck is how much they could agree on the facts behind the numbers. on jobs, for example, no dispute that things are looking better. >> a year ago, we were losing 750,000 jobs a month. now we're gaining 150,000 jobs a
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month. >> hours being worked per week on the average production worker is on its way up. hiring in temporary employment is on its way up. these are indicators that the economy is going to strengthen. >> reporter: on the housing market where they agree housing numbers are not going off a cliff. >> you can refinance a mortgage for 5 and three eighths. >> it seems that the number of foreclosures are starting to fall. the number of reos is starting to decline. >> reporter: the dow crossing 11,000, they agree that you cannot read too much into. >> the market is a misleading indicator. that's the line that warren buffett said. to some degree, when individuals and consumers stop spending, when businesses are pulling
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their horns, when everybody freezes like a deer in the headlight, you could ride that out without any governmental intervention. there are free market philosophers who say that is the right thing to do, but it's extremely painful and very few governments are willing to suffer the pain to be pure. >> it's not a leading indicator. i'm not sure the dow is much of an indicator of anything at all. >> reporter: their big disagreement is how long the good news will keep on coming, because thornburg is saying there's one thing things are looking up. it is this, the stimulus measures that were signed into law. they worked. they put money into our pocket. they kept the auto industry going. but that money is going to run out and then what. >> have we fixed the problems in the long run? the answer is absolutely not. the consumer too much leverage, spending too much. the housing market, millions of
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units that are simply not performing mortgages that we have yet to work our way through and dispose of in the housing markets. you have a situation in which the federal government is borrowing way beyond its means. we are in a precarious position right now. >> reporter: if you see it as chris thornburg does, what are you supposed to do about it? he says it's what you're not supposed to do. >> the key is not to get wrapped up in the here and now. one of the things i can say there is don't get wrapped up in the stock market. >> reporter: in other words, do not get seduced by the dow today. it is safe to start living again. >> if you've been saving for a couple of quarters. if you feel like you have denied yourself a little discretionary spending, things are on sale, there's nothing wrong with going out and buying something if you can afford it and you need it. >> reporter: both say as for the sea of numbers, try to ignore
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them. intriguing as they may be, as the one the "wall street journal" mentioned, the sale to diesel fuel from sacramento to salt lake city, apparently it's an economic bellwether for manufacturing. fun to know but to much to worry about. when our number is really up, we'll know it. i'm john donvan for "nightline" in washington. so a glass half full or maybe half empty. our thanks to john donvan. when we come back, a visit to a popular new theme park where the main attraction is short in stature but big in controversy. it's tonight's sign of times.
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theme theme parks come in all shapes and sizes. some feature frightening rides. others, friendly mascots. some involve wild animals, but there's a bizarre new theme park in china that's decided to stray from the traditional concept. the main attraction here may come as a shock. for clarissa ward, this enchanted village is a sign of the times. >> reporter: you're looking at the newest and hottest theme park in china right now. there are no rides or roller coasters. no cotton candy or games. just lots and lots of little people. that's right. welcome to the little people's
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kingdom of dwarves where more than 100 dwarves are paid to sing and dance before a captive audience. there were only three requirements to work here sans owner cheng mingjing. no infectious diseases and no one taller than 4'3". on this day, visitors forked out $12 to visit this unusual amusement park. they wander around a fake hilltop village where the dwarves pretend to live. and then it's time for the show to begin. certainly, it is a spectacle. in one particularly cringe making number, dance music blairs as a leather clad performer breaks out some break dancing moves. ♪
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>> reporter: a series of traditional chinese numbers follow. the crowd goes wild, and then the finale, a slap stick performance of the ballet swan lake. >> disturbing i think is the best word. >> reporter: others don't appear to share my assessment of the entertainment. >> it's amazing this woman tells me. i've seen dwarves in the past but never so many in the same place. i was very impressed. her daughter seems to have more discerning taste when asked if she liked the show. cashing in on people's curiosity is hardly a novel phenomenon. think back to the days of freak shows as seen in the 1932 classic, "freaks." little people have been used by hollywood too. remember those adorable um pa lum pas in charlie and the
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chocolate factory? but in these slightly more evolved times, there are few places where you can still see this kind of entertainment. online critics have slammed the park as a glorified zoo. >> what do you say to critics who say you're exploiting these people. >> there's no exploitation, they are paid well and feel at home. the talent make up to $130 a month, a modest sum. the owner plans to spend more than 100 milli$100 million over few years. certainly those we talked to have few complaints. shi mei and shao tian show me their quarters. >> before people stared at me on
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the streets. i used to stay at home all day, but i'm happy here. >> reporter: politically correct, certainly not, but for now, perhaps a happy home. for "nightline," i'm clarissa ward in china. a bizarre world indeed. our thanks to clarissa ward. when we come back, what the russian president thinks of barack obama. >> jimmy: tonight from "dancing with the stars," pamela anderson and nathan fillion. on car insurance for over 70 years.
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finally tonight, president obama's nuclear security summit has begun in washington, a gathering mark today by china's agreement on potential sanctions against iran. last week, it was the u.s. and russia agreeing on a nuclear arms reduction treaty, just one topic dimitri medvedev discussed with george stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview. >> what do you make of barack obama? >> he's a comfortable partner. it's interesting to be with him. the most important thing that
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distinguishes him from many other people, i won't name anyone by name, he's a thinker. he thinks when he speaks. >> you had somebody in your mind, i think? >> obviously, i have someone in my mind. i don't want to offend anyone. he's eager to listen to his partner, which is a pretty good quality in a politician. there was no instance where he wasn't well prepared for the questions. this is very good. after all, he's simply a very pleasant man with whom it's a pleasure to deal with. >> he said very kind things about you as well. i spoke with him in prague. one of the most important things he said about you is, it was when i asked him who's really in charge in russia, the question you get all the time, you or prime minister putin. president obama emphasized every time he's dealt with you, you've followed through on your commitments and you've kept your word. on that subject, i'm wondering

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